We made it to the first two weeks of Kindergarten class. My son had been very excited about school, meeting his new and old classmates, of learning new things and of car pooling with other kids in our subdivision. He was so into it that he would even wake up his mom to tell her that it’s time for him to take a shower and prepare for school.
Yesterday, we had our first parents meeting. The teacher was really warm and understanding about our kid’s concerns in her class. She was very thorough in her discussions that ranges from the daily schedule, homework and attendance. The one that striked me the most was the topic on discipline. Our son can get overly excited and active in a lot of things. Last year, during the first few weeks of his Pre-K, my wife and I had a temporary episode of stress due to his teacher’s remark on his behaviour.
I can still clearly remember how upset and embarrassed my wife was when the teacher handed my son to her and told her, ” your son has issues.” In her mind she told herself, ” what issues?” There was no way to discuss what it was all about in front of the other parents. We had so many questions that weekend that left us feeling helpless.
To end our fears and undue anxiety, we scheduled the earliest parents conference that we could get. It turned out that the teacher is working closely with our son and that she understood the adjustments he’s going through. She also raised an only child. We felt a sudden relief. It was a simple case of misunderstanding. We did follow her recommended advises by heart. Everyday we would go over with our son the school rules and their consequences. We also made it a point to let him know that we love him and care about his well-being. That we want him to grow up respecting the rules and the people around him.
In the end, our persistence and consistency paid off. Our son improved tremendously. He attended an 18 day Summer class this year and not a single “bad day” remark on his conduct sheet. We were so proud and happy for him. He always gets a compliment, a hug, a kiss and a special treat when he finishes a 7 day of straight “good days.” His teacher said that he is such a joy to be with and that his classmates are fond of him.
The 7 golden rules are the following:
1. Listen when others are talking.
2. Follow directions.
3. Work quietly and do not disturb others.
4. Show respect for school and personal property.
5. Keep hands, feet and objects to self.
6. Work and play in a safe manner.
7. No running in the hallway.
These rules are a challenge when you’re talking about 22-23 active kids cramped inside a small class room.
You might be asking, ” how in the world is she going to manage all of them?” Well, each teacher has her own effective way to make sure that the kids follow the rules and still got to enjoy their school experiences.
One effective tool is “stamp in the folder.” Each child is given four cards of various colors inside a paper holder. For each rule that gets broken, the student pulls out a card. Each card that is pulled out has a corresponding consequence.
1. A pulled out green card means no stamp in the folder at the end of the day.
2. A pulled out orange card means 5 minutes time-out.
3. A pulled out blue card means 10 minutes time-out.
4. A pulled out yellow card means a phone call to the parents. Now, this one I dread the most. It’s one consequence that motivates me to work religiously with my son even if it involves a lot of time and energy.
At the end of the day, the kids get an inspiring praise and compliment as well as a “happy face” stamp to tell them that they were so behaved that day. On the seventh consecutive “good day,” the student gets to go to the treasure chest and picks his surprise present or reward. This is one incentive my son looks forward each week. Every time I pick up my son after school, he hurriedly pulls out his precious treasure inside his back pack and tells me excitedly, “Look dad, a toy for my good days.” One time, he was jumping with joy because he got a Bakugan toy which he was trying to collect. My heart melts every time I see him this happy. Who wouldn’t be?
As much as Pre-K and Kindergarten is about learning, of play and interaction with peers, it is also about molding our children to be responsible and respectful citizens that cares about others. A lesson in life that will prove invaluable when our kids grow up.